Add new comment

My name is Ali Syed. I am a Shia Muslim-American, born and raised in the United States. I am a medical student in Baltimore, Maryland hoping to do good in this world. My grandmother is my greatest inspiration - she is altruism, respect, love, modesty, and compassion in human form. She taught me to serve others, especially those who are impoverished, and to care for the elderly, as she did when she was a youth growing up in India. I love to cook, play tennis, admire God's creation (Mother nature), and share knowledge.

What does "being Muslim" mean to you?
It means I am a servant of Allah, or God. I am also a member of a 1+ billion strong community.

What do you find beautiful about Islam, and how does it find expression in your daily life?
- Its inclusiveness of all humanity and faiths
- the priority given to knowledge and education is of the highest
- Doing any good deed is considered an act of worship. My being a future physician means that every day, just the fact that I am earning money by legitimate means is a form of worship. The fact that I am also dedicating my life to service of humanity through my profession is an even higher virtue and even greater form of worship. Plus, I get to make Allah (The Exalted and Glorious) happy everyday. :)
- Sharing knowledge with others is so highly praised by Allah
- its emphasis on service, compassion and charity
- its strength lies in its ability to provide us with the tools to make good, logical decisions in our everyday lives
- the emphasis on humility before God
- the rich combination of the sciences and spirituality
- I get to communicate with God through my prayers everyday. I can ask for His Aid and beg for His Mercy, express my gratitude and humble myself.

What hopes, questions, and concerns are on your mind as you ponder the future of your tradition?
- I hope that we can raise the scholastic level of our community. This is especially important because in Islam we strongly believe that education is an incredibly worthy pursuit because it is the solution to all vices.
- As a Shia Muslim, I would like to see the American government more supportive of Shia groups, especially Shia-friendly nations in the Middle East, and learn to stand up to injustices done against this significant population within the Muslim community. This includes the Shias in Saudi Arabia (who are often victims of violence and injustice just for being Shia), Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, and Bahrain (a country with a Shia majority but unfortunately, extremist schools of thought are infiltrating and oppressing the Shias).
- I hope more people will stand up to extreme and illogical ideologies that misrepresent Islam. Extremists are ruining the beauty of our faith - it's about time the true Muslims, those who believe in moderation, educate the public and help promote peace and understanding.
- I hope that more people will understand that the Hijab is an expression of a woman's respect for herself and her connection to Allah.
- Muslim-American youth are becoming incredibly active in their centers and mosques and are hoping to facilitate an era of peace, prosperity, understanding, and tolerance among all people of the world. These youth need to be engaged by the American public, media, and the government. Look for them and Inshallah (God-willing) you will have found an exceptional and trustworthy human being.